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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY             321

to play a notable part in the regeneration of Germany, and to
introduce Pestalozzi's ideas to German educators. Fichte was
specially attracted to his views because he seemed to find in them
the practical embodiment of the Kantian philosophy.

All these years when his only means of expression was literature,
he kept alive the desire to give practical form to his educational
ideas ; and at long length, when he was over fifty, the opportunity
came. On the establishment of a revolutionary government in
Switzerland in 1798, Pestalozzi was offered an official post. He
refused, saying that he wanted to be a teacher. Accordingly, he
was sent to Stanz to take charge of a number of children who had
been left orphans by the death of their fathers in a rebellion
against the government. Pestalozzi was only at this work for five
months, but it was sufficient to justify his confidence in himself
and his methods. Though he had to manage eighty children of
different ages single-handed, and was never able to do much in
the way of systematic education, he succeeded in creating a school
after the pattern of the home, and tried a considerable number of
experiments. The best results were achieved in the develop-
ment of character^ onceTlTe"TEKTcstaTbUshed a quasi-paternal
relationship with the children, he found it easy to cultivate the
virtues on the basis of direct experience. Manual work he could
only employ as an educational instrument to a limited extent,
but still enough to confirm his faith in it. At the same time, he
now came to realize that the value of such work was in itself, not
in its economic returns. On the intellectual side, his main aim
was to cultivate the fundamental powers of attention, observation,
and memory as a preparation for judgment in maturer years,
But the most valuable discovery of all was that it was possible to
teach a great number of children at one and the same time without
doing violence to his principles. With that knowledge he was
ready to make a fresh start under more ordinary conditions at
Bnrgdorf, to which he was now transferred.

After a few months in an infant school with twenty-five pupils,
where he began to think out a plan for teaching the elements of
instruction, he was appointed head of a training college for
teachers in the Castle of Burgdorf. Here with the help of a small
band of teachers* who gave Pestalozzi's ideas the definiteness of
practical form which he was unable to give them himself, he
conducted with great success a composite institution which was